Frank Gore's age has been, for the longest time, but a number.
That changed slightly in 2019, when Gore's first and only season in Buffalo -- his age 36 campaign -- saw him fall short of 600 rushing yards for the first time in his career (he finished with 599). Instead of marveling at his ability to stave off Father Time, the football world gradually started to see that yes, Gore really was on the other side of 35.
Such a realization did not prevent the Jets from signing the running back just days before his 37th birthday. The reason: The Taurus with a turbo can still be an asset to an NFL team.
"Frank brings something that is really hard to teach," Jets coach Adam Gase explained to the team's official website. "He's a natural leader. He's the kind of guy that guys respect around the NFL. He's done a great job as far as helping younger players that are in the room. I think he's a good teammate especially the last three or four years in that backup role and the supporting role of whoever that starter is. He's a great guy for Le'Veon [Bell] to be around. Those two guys can really do some damage together.
"We have two guys that can play all three downs. They both have outstanding skillsets. There's a little bit of difference in their running style and how they do things, but we know Frank really well and we know how to use them."
Gase knows Gore well because of their time spent together over a decade ago, when Gase served as an offensive assistant to a 25-year-old Gore in San Francisco in 2008. A decade later, they reunited in Miami, where the Coral Gables, Florida, native returned home to play for the Dolphins. One key detail never changed between those 10 years: Gore's work ethic.
Gase raved about the runner's high effort level, no matter the circumstances, saying Gore "goes in practice like it's Monday Night Football." His Jets could use more of that type of approach.
"He's never taken anything for granted," Gase said of Gore. "I think the biggest mistake most people make is they doubt him and they tell him something that he can't do whether it was injury, age or whatever the circumstance may be. He's proven people wrong time and time again.
"It seems to be a trend when you get around guys that are future Hall of Fame players that they all seem to have a very similar makeup. It's outstanding work ethic, football intelligence and that natural leadership where they affect other guys in a positive way."
It would seem Gore's signing isn't so much about production than it is about setting a new standard. For a team that lacks veteran leadership but brings enough talent to compete, Gore fits what the Jets need. Just don't expect him to break out for a 1,000-yard season at 37 years old.